Eleven Productions LLC / The Fuel Music
Release Date: August 25th 2017
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
Cimorelli– Best of 2010 – 2011 (iTunes/Amazon mp3) /Best of 2012 (iTunes/Amazon mp3) /Best of 2013 (iTunes/Amazon mp3) /Best of 2014 (iTunes/Amazon mp3) /Best of 2015 (iTunes/Amazon mp3) /Best of 2016 (iTunes/Amazon mp3)
Track Listing (Best of 2010 – 2011):
- It Will Rain / Chasing Pavements
- Make Me Proud
- Love You Like a Love Song
- How to Love
- Yeah Right
- Backseat / Till the World Ends / Where Dem Girls At? / Blow
- Best Love Song
- Coming Home / Watcha Say / Stay / Whatever You Like
- We Belong Together
- Too Little Too Late
Track Listing (Best of 2012):
- Windows Down
- Live While We’re Young
- We are Never Ever Getting Back Together
- Good Time
- One Thing
- Where Have You Been
- What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)
Track Listing (Best of 2013)
- Counting Stars
- Wrecking Ball
- Mirrors (Feat. James Maslow)
- I Want Crazy
- Just Give Me a Reason
- Beauty and a Beat
Track Listing (Best of 2014)
- Lips are Movin’
- Shake It Off
- Rather Be
- Really Don’t Care
- Boom Clap
- Happy (feat. Tyler Ward)
- Best Day of My Life (feat. Tyler Ward)
Track Listing (Best of 2015)
- Live Forever / I Am Invincible
- Wildest Dreams / Blue Jeans
- Fight Song
- Bad Blood (feat. The Johnsons)
- See You Again (feat. The Johnsons)
- Want to Want Me
Track Listing (Best of 2016)
- I Hate U I Love U
- Cold Water / Let Me Love You
- Can’t Stop the Feeling!
- Seven Years
- Stressed Out
- My House
‘…working with your siblings is extremely rewarding, but also VERY challenging. This past year we had to work through a lot of differences of opinion in addition to us just growing up! We have six very strong, very different personalities, and as we get older, I think we’re really learning to value and respect what we each bring to the table as individuals. It’s hard because as sisters, people tend to lump us together and compare us a lot, and that has brought a lot of heartache and frustration. But at the end of the day, I think it motivated each of us to really strongly be our own selves and embrace that individuality!…’ Cimorelli are probably one of the most unique, genre-crossing artists/bands I’ve come across in recent history and memory. Comprised of 6 sisters from the heart of Northern California (and then moving to Nashville, Tennessee in 2015), Christina, Katherine, Lisa, Amy, Lauren and Dani Cimorelli have shown us what it means to become successful artists after obtaining their start as youtube cover artists all those years ago. With Cimorelli being, I reckon, one of the artists/bands that have excelled in the last few years because of their youtube presence (through weekly postings and cover songs, alongside devotionals, interviews and the like) and their ability to connect with fans across all platforms of social media; it has been their full-length albums Up at Night, and Alive (released in 2016 and 2017 respectively) that have resonated poignantly with millions of listeners around the world. Joining artists like for KING AND COUNTRY, Zach Williams, Lauren Daigle, Stars Go Dim, Tauren Wells (of Royal Tailor fame), Colton Dixon, Jordan Feliz, Love and the Outcome and Hollyn, Cimorelli are indeed changing the world with their heartfelt music and the ability for such a band of 6 sisters to deliver a real, genuine comrade, sibling bond and friendship when it comes to delivering music that can be as much fun-filled as it is emotive and hard-hitting- Alive in fact is one of my favourite albums I’ve heard, period, since Building 429’s Unashamed back in 2015!
Officially, Cimorelli are all Christians in a band, but they are not classified as a ‘Christian band’ per se- even though most of their second full length album Alive was about their relationship with God, and themes like hope, doubt, uncertainty, body image and acceptance in the circle of friends. Mind you, Alive was a big departure for the band from their 1st full length album in 2016, Up at Night which was primarily country music (and that album and its musical style and themes were a departure again from their music previously that was primarily pop and radio friendly!). Still, it’s hard to place Cimorelli into a box, literally. Musically, their styles can shift between pop, country, radio friendly and even inspirational and worshipful as their discography shows; which is why I am asserting my claim, that Cimorelli and the music that they deliver, be it covers or original material, are some of the most unique that I’ve heard in a long time- with such great harmonies from all the 6 sisters in the band, we have been blessed to hear what I reckon is one of mainstream music’s (and Christian music as well) best kept secrets…until now, of course. The rise of these sisters with Up at Night and Alive (as well as the flurry of cover videos in between) will sure to turn the heads of people in the mainstream industry as well as those within the Christian one as well. Whether Cimorelli want to sign to another label in the future is a different story (they did split from their label- Universal Republic, after the release of their 2014 EP Renegade).
Since hearing some of their songs from Up at Night throughout 2016, I knew that the band had something unique and special, even though most, if not all their songs from their 14-track debut recording were about boys, relationships, heartbreak and hurt. With all the sisters aged between 27 – 17 (Christina the oldest and Dani the youngest- and then Katherine, Lisa, Amy and Lauren in between), the band have matured greatly since the release of their album Alive earlier this year (it released via Pledgemusic in December 2016). The sisters have always been known to have a strong faith, and while that wasn’t necessarily in the forefront on Up at Night, Alive is something different, as songs of worship, hope, loneliness, faith, comfort, confrontation and everything else in between become the central themes of this short, albeit powerful and profound album. I have reviewed the album, interviewed band member Katherine about the album, and upon further listening, have concluded that Alive was…and still is, one of my favourite 5 albums of 2017 thus far (it could change come December-time though!). And so following on from the success of Alive, we see these flurry of cover videos (of which I reviewed here) covers from artists like Miley Cyrus, Hannah Montana (alter ego of Miley), Clean Bandit, there’s even a cover from the latest for KING AND COUNTRY song ‘Priceless’. Needless to say, Cimorelli have given their all through both their original material as well as their covers and you can see the passion and heart they place in their videos when you check out their youtube page (youtube.com/user/cimorellitheband/videos). The fact that Cimorelli have been able to bridge the gap so cleverly (maybe even more so than Switchfoot, needtobreathe, Superchick and Skillet) between mainstream and Christian music, makes me appreciate and admire these young women, all of which have a fast-growing and respectable career in front of them, be it as a band together or even, shudder to think, solo, if one person in the group decides to venture out on their own. Similarly in style within the CCM industry to that of BarlowGirl, Superchick, Britt Nicole and even the newer group 1GN (and similar in the mainstream industry to artists Alessia Cara and Rachel Platten), Cimorelli’s music, especially Alive, reminds us all that the band is here to stay, for a while yet!
Which then brings us to Friday 25th August 2017. Let me just back up a little bit for some history and context. Each week for the last few years, Cimorelli have been releasing cover videos every so often, let’s say 2-3 a month. Years worth of videos. It was only this year (and a little bit of 2016) where they have released the audio for their cover video songs on iTunes for purchase/download, along with releasing it on Spotify for listening pleasure. Yet not for videos/songs pre-2016. Not sure why though. Maybe it was because the band was signed and therefore couldn’t receive permission, regardless, for whatever reason, videos pre-2016 weren’t uploaded to iTunes. That is until now, the big date, Friday 25th August 2017. A date that many fans of Cimorelli’s music (myself included) will appreciate as being such a date where the perks of independency is realised. There in fact can be so much more done, being independent, rather than with a label. With the advent and the use of digital platforms like kickstarter, Pledgemusic, gofundme and the like, fan appreciation and pledging can in fact make or break a career, and in Cimorelli’s case; fans have rallied around these 6 sisters and reminded them that there isn’t really a divide between artist and fan. In fact, independent artists don’t really have the gap that is so evidently seen whenever you are immediately signed to a label. Once that happens, there seems to be a mesh that comes in between you and the listener. Everything is done through management. But independent artists are freer in the respect that fan-artist relationships are much more real, honest and transparent. Maybe I’m totally wrong, but that’s what I’m seeing, at least in Cimorelli’s case. With their interactions with fans around the world inspiring themselves all the more to become more authentic and heartfelt in the music they create, last Friday was a gift for fans- finally, after years and years, the band have compiled 6 EP’s/albums (of varying song track-listings), titled BEST OF ____ (2010 – 11, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016), essentially 6 collections of cover songs that should’ve been released at the time, but now available freely for the listening pleasure of fans around the world.
So what can I say about this collection of songs, amounting to 6 EP’s worth? Just that if you are a fan of Cimorelli’s music, and their arrangements of popular pop songs, and have been a fan of Cimorelli for years, then stop whatever you are doing now and check out the music in Spotify (or if you are the paying type, purchase it quickly on iTunes and listen right away). The BEST OF EP’s/albums are a snapshot of Cimorelli’s cover career and a progression of their sound from the early 2010s til now. A must have for anyone who has been wanting to hear something different compared to whatever original version we may have heard on the radio (in fact, dare I say that Cimorelli and their cover music are so professional that, if you didn’t know the original artist, then you’d automatically think they’d have written the music themselves- a compliment and testament to their song arrangements and singing style), we have a glimpse into the songs and artists that have been covered by the band over the years- Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’, Rachel Platten’s ‘Fight Song’, OneRepublic’s ‘Counting Stars’, Owl City’s ‘Good Time’, Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Stronger’, Pharrell Williams’ ‘Happy’, Justin Timberlake’s ‘Mirrors’ and ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling’, as well as Meghan Trainor’s ‘Lips are Movin’, Clean Bandit’s ‘Rather Be’ and Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Off’ and ‘22’ are all included in the 6 compilations- songs that have been big either on social media or on mainstream radio in years past, and songs that I, if I hadn’t heard of Cimorelli (and respected them enough to at least hear all these songs at least once), may not have actively looked and heard these songs. Which gives rise to this- that Cimorelli and their ability to transform and song and make it their own will have tremendous impact on whomever hears their music and wants to branch out into other music depending on the songs they cover.
While I won’t really review each of the BEST OF EP’s/albums in depth, what I will say is this- this collection is a dream come true, even for the band, I reckon. What they may not have been able to have released before, they finally did now, and it is a gesture to the fans, saying thank you for their support over the years. Even I, a recent fan of the band (as late to the fandom as last year November/December), appreciate these albums, even though I myself listen primarily to CCM on Air1 and K-Love. Nevertheless, Cimorelli and their commitment to delivering quality music, be it covers or originals, has taught me that there is a wide variety of music out there at my grasp, and ‘mainstream’ music isn’t that ‘bad’ or ‘inferior’ to Christian music. In fact, God can indeed speak through anything, even a song that wasn’t necessarily written with Jesus at the forefront. Mainstream music can encourage, and Cimorelli has shown us, myself especially, that mainstream songs, even popular ones like those included on these 6 BEST OF Volumes, can in fact help us on our journey of life, and tell us more about ourselves and God in the whole process of this crazy period from birth to death, called an exciting adventure the Lord is calling us all out to participate in. My musical tastes have been broadened because of Cimorelli, and for that I am thankful. Music is the universal language of the soul, and as these 6 sisters continue to deliver harmonies and melodies as emotive and poignant as they have been for years, then the world will be a better place because of it. These BEST OF ___ collections are not just for anyone who loves current radio friendly pop music. They are for people who love music, full stop. Cimorelli are underrated, and hopefully with these releases, we can see the journey of how a little youtube cover band can be transformed into a band that is influencing many young teenagers and young adults (especially teen girls) around the world.
What can I say about Cimorelli and these covers that I haven’t already? That the band as of this moment is by far one of the most influential in either the mainstream or Christian music industry? Because they are… their album Alive is testament to that, and their new BEST OF ___ collections, alongside Alive, is what I reckon will make the band propel to new heights. Released just this last Friday, BEST OF ____ (2010 – 11, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016) are indeed a welcomed surprise, for me included. Cimorelli are an ‘overnight’ success, a band that has come out of nowhere and are taking social media by storm. Certain to have a very bright future ahead of them, these covers in these 6 album/EP volumes are all are unique and powerful, heartfelt and emotional, at times nostalgic and encouraging. Cimorelli are certain to have a bigger and better 2017, and Alive (and these collections of covers) is certainly a factor in that. Well done girls for creating these BEST OF volumes, as well as the success of Alive, can’t wait to see what God wants to do through you as a band in the upcoming year ahead!
10 songs to listen to: Can’t Stop the Feeling, Happy, Fight Song, See You Again, Boom Clap, Rather Be, Mirrors, Counting Stars, Cold Water / Let Me Love You, Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)
RIYL: 1GN, Carmen Justice, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, One Direction, Britt Nicole, pureNRG, Jump5, Press Play